The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, July 6, 2014

American OO in 1954-55. Part IV: More Old and New Products

Railroad Model Craftsman had the most positive spin on American OO products and the modeling situation in general. Starting right off in the January, 1954 issue, they note that “OO used to give HO quite a run for the money … still a lot of OO equipment around and enough manufacturers for the boys to keep them going … The OO gaugers still swear that 4mm scale is tops.”

In terms of products, RMC began a series of articles that are very interesting for our purposes, looking at the history of American OO. Their October, 1954 issue contained their “Model Steam Loco Directory” for all scales, which included the Scale-Craft 0-6-0, 4-6-0, and 4-8-4 (presumably sold through Kemtron) and the Johann 2-8-2. This is the listing of that model, but also in this issue is a great note in Dispatcher’s Report. “OO gaugers should look up the Johann 2-8-2, a beautiful job which we saw here in the office for the first time recently and which has just been released. Who says OO is dead?” More on the Johann 2-8-2 may be found here.

The Diesel loco directory ran in November of 1954 and included the Schorr F-3 and the Kemtron GP-7. The RMC freight car directory ran in two parts, and in January of 55 we find the only OO listings – for just three models, the Eastern boxcar, gondola, and reefer. They had not advertised in years but the model was still available. More on Eastern may be found here.

As noted in the 1953 series, M. P. Davis (Cussewago Valley) probably had models on the market by that year, at least the E-7. The M. P. Davis sales flyer dates to 1954, for more on that see this article. I also have a copy of the Cussewago Valley sales flyer for the P5 electric, seen here.  The only published reference I have found from the time is a letter in the November 1954 issue of RMC from Major McCoid, pointing out that the former Nason P5-A was available from M. P. Davis. It was a large and unique line of models, especially the articulated locomotives and the circus cars, this article giving my best general coverage on all of it. Also I would note that his unique streamlined caboose definitively dates to 1955; see this article for more.

Another OO firm that was active was the Guild of the Iron Horse. The initial Guild products date to probably to 1954. In later Johann sales literature he makes reference to using the Guild tender. Also there is a 1953 MR reference to 4-4-2 dies being purchased which must be the Nason dies going to Guild, as mentioned in the 1951-52 series.  It is all rather vague as he never advertised and does not seem to have developed any printed matter related to his products. For more on the 4-4-2 (their most commonly seen model) see this article.

The one line not yet mentioned that is not vague at all is MHP. They advertised every month over this two year span in Model Railroader. The first ad in January of 1954 says their passenger car diaphragms are available in “all popular sizes.” That ad had been running for some time, but starting in February they switched to a new ad that specifies that they make them for HO, OO, S, and O gauges and starting in April they ran a second ad in every issue, seen here, that made clear that their product was “now available in OO gauge.” For more on MHP see this article.

So while there was not a lot out there, there were products enough around to keep a good number of folks busy in the “dead” scale of American OO. When the series returns the topic will be the years 1956-57.

Return to the beginning of the 1954-55 series

Continue to 1956-57 Series

No comments: